Bigger, rounder, firmer, fuller, higher… when it comes to our breasts, almost of us want more of something. Yet, when it comes to looking after these fragile parts, we are almost criminal in our negligence. In fact, we often go out of our way to be hard on them – sleeping on them, stuffing them into ill fitting bras, bouncing them while going bra-less, putting mouths and hands on them… yes, boobs go through A LOT!
Which is really not a good idea as this is one of the first areas of our body to show signs of premature ageing. That’s because the skin around our boobs is thinner and more prone to stretching than anywhere else, thereby losing elasticity more quickly. Add to this, problems like chest acne, sun damage, abrasive clothing etc etc etc… and you can see why you need to treat your breasts better than your face. Most of us only get one pair (unless we are rich enough to afford surgery), so start being good to them!
Ever thought of exfoliating your boobs? Why not? This is actually the first step towards a super-smooth décolletage. A scrub-up will remove impurities, help prevent blemishes and speed up cellular renewal, resulting in glowing, more youthful looking skin. BUT stay away from the harsher body scrubs, which can leave tiny tears in this extremely thin skin. Instead, opt for a gentle facial formula with finely ground particles. Dior’s Instant Gentle Exfoliant and Garnier’s Pure Active Exfo-Brusher Wash are superb for the fragile skin on your chest. Or simply add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to 1 tablespoon sugar, mix well and use as a gorgeously natural exfoliator.
As for cleansing, skip the soap and go for a hydrating or clarifying body wash. Bliss Lemon + Sage Soapy Suds is perfect for a deep cleanse sans the dehydration; while Ole Henriksen’s Clarifying Body Wash is great at keeping cleavage calm and clear.
Breast commandment #2: Moisturise & protect
Since the skin on our chest is extremely thin, it’s very prone to dehydration and sun damage. Actress Zsa Zsa Gabor highly recommended smearing a rotten banana in an old bra to firm the bust. She would allow the fruit to turn black (which ups the potassium), then wear it for an hour. Fortunately, there are easier (and less messy) solutions in the form of a zillion skin creams, gels, tonics and lotions specifically meant for the breast area. No, they won’t increase your cup size but they will definitely firm and tighten the skin, creating a smoother, plumped up effect.
A dermatologist suggested Clarins Bust Beauty Lotion to combat concerns about elasticity and collagen when I hit my 30s. It has been a staple on the bathroom shelf ever since. Occasionally, I follow it up with Ole Henriksen’s Invigorating Night Gel or Murad’s Clarifying Body Spray, when hyperpigmentation or acne creeps up.
Follow up with your favorite body sunscreen, with minimum SPF 30. Put it on BEFORE your bra – otherwise you could end up with sunburnt (or worse – permanently sun damaged) boobs.
Need more incentive to become breast-aware? Daily massage makes women more familiar with the way their breasts look and feel, enabling them to detect any changes immediately.
Once a week, use a firming mask all over your boobs. First Aid Beauty’s 5 in 1 Bouncy Mask and Peter Thomas Roth’s 24K Gold Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask are both perfect for tightening and nourishing collagen-hungry skin.
As is this home recipe: blend 4 tablespoons of papaya with 2 tablespoons of buttermilk. Apply this mixture on your breasts and leave for 15-20 minutes. Then wash off with lukewarm water and watch your skin glow!
For the ultimate in pre-party pampering, book yourself a professional salon bust treatment. Clarins’ Paris Method Bust Treatment uses specific massage movements, while Decleor’s Bust Firming Treatment includes a new sculptural mask for the bust.
Breast commandment #4: Support
It’s also crucial to wear the right size bra (bonus boob points if it’s underwired), since a bad fit can permanently damage breast tissue, leading to unsightly marks and sagging. You’d be surprised at the damage inflicted by something as simple as running up a flight of stairs: When your breasts bounce up and down, they pull and stretch the skin and supporting ligaments, thereby leading to drooping. So, you can imagine how important it is to always wear a good sports bra when doing bosom-jostling activities like aerobics or jogging no matter what your size (even smaller sets are sag-prone). Also important: Replace bras every six months, as they lose a lot of support.
And keep in mind that maintaining a stable body weight is your next best defense against gravity-induced drag: cycles of weight gain and loss (of 10 pounds or more) can pump up, then deflate breast skin.
While spot toning exercises can’t turn an A cup into a C cup, they can help improve the look of your bustline. Working out helps build up the underlying pectoral muscles, creating a foundation that lifts the breasts up and out. So, commit to daily press-ups. An easy way is to grip a horizontal support (window sill, horizontal bar or the arms of a large solid chair) that allows you to exercise from an angle of roughly 45 degrees instead of flat on the floor.
Breast commandment #6: Show them off
You don’t have to “put ’em on the glass”, but showcase your beautiful breasts with a push-up bra and a v-neck shirt: the greatest pairing of products since toast and jam. If that’s too much for you, just enhance them with a touch of bronzer or body tint. I am totally in love with Lush’s Shimmy Shimmy – a solid body lotion that leaves a very subtle, but ever so effective shimmer that lights up the skin.
Or borrow a tip from make-up artists and red carpet celebs on how to use make-up to fake a deeper cleavage: Take two shades of bronzing powder, one in a neutral tone and the other slightly darker. Using a large blusher brush, sparingly dust the lighter shade over your neck, shoulders and chest to create an overall glow. Next, dust the darker shade into the cleavage itself, blending carefully to avoid any obvious lines. The same effect can be achieved by using two tones of tinted moisturiser and blending with the fingertips. Sexy, much?
Do you pay proper attention to your breasts? What’s your secret boob pampering ritual?
All photos courtesy Victoria’s Secret